With Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) new interconnect usage charges (IUC) regime kicks in today (1st January 2021), subscribers of India’s biggest telecom operator Reliance Jio is for a treat. The telco will now resume on its old guarantee of free voice calls to any network.
Jio subscribers can now make free unlimited (with some fair usage restrictions) voice calls from Jio to any telecom network, anywhere in India. Your voice calls from Jio to Jio, and Jio to other telecom operators numbers are free now. Thus making off-net domestics voice call charges completely zero.
Going to the original issue here, back in September 2019 the telecom watchdog TRAI extended the implementation of the Bill and Keep regime beyond 1st January 2020. This in-turn extended the levying of IUC charges until the regime comes into force.
IUC or Interconnect Usage Charge is a cost paid by one telecom operator to another when its subscriber makes outgoing voice calls to the other operator’s customers. The appellate authority in the Indian telecom sector, TRAI is one who currently fixes the IUC charges and is currently at 6 paise per minute.
Due to the undergoing regulatory policy changes for mobile-call-related charges, Jio is compelled to recover IUC charge for NON-JIO mobile voice calls.
So, Jio started charging 6 paise per minute for all off-net mobile voice calls or to non-Jio voice calls so long as IUC charges exist. All its mobile prepaid plans started reflecting this off-net or non-jio voice call charges. However, the telco compensated for the extra cost of voice calls by offering an additional 1GB of free data for every Rs 10 spent.
As of today, 1st January 2021 the Bill and Keep regime is implemented in the country, thereby ending the interconnect usage charges for all voice calls you to make to any network anywhere in India. Jio has also updated all its mobile plans to reflect the new changes.